UWS Mysteries: The Disappearing Chicks and the Mysterious Stains on West End Avenue

Mysteries abound on the Upper West Side, and there are two new ones in our case file.

1. The mystery of the chicks: Jane Kenney sent in the photo above, from Riverside Park around 66th Street. “There was a Canadian goose nest located at the end of the point at 66th Street. It is gone now. Maybe readers know if it was nature or some other force at work?”

2. The mystery of the stains: Gretchen Berger sent the photo above from West End Avenue and 75th Street on Monday along with the following explanation: “What looks like grease stains – though nobody’s really sure – on the west side of West End Avenue, running from 86th Street as far south as 72nd which – which mysteriously appeared overnight. None of the building doormen that I spoke to knows what this is. They’ve used power hoses, Dawn grease detergent and the stains still won’t go away.”

She followed up with the email below on Tuesday: “The spot stains remain and look like large drips of grease – at least here in the 70s. I don’t think anyone knows what the substance is that caused the stains. I’ve spoken to various doormen, residents, building maintenance people, and the stains won’t come out with normal washing, including various detergent and it’s an eyesore. I’ve been told, the blight runs from about 86th Street to between 71-72nd where it mysteriously ends (I checked that portion). Don’t know whether it’s vandalism or a weird spillage accident.”

For history buffs, read the mystery of the backyard chicken and the hovering drone.

NEWS | 26 comments | permalink
    1. TOM says:


    2. Heather Walters says:

      Since the landing of a plane in the Hudson after its engines ingested some Canada geese it’s the policy of the NYC Parks Dept. to prevent any Canada goose eggs from hatching in our area

    3. Sid says:

      Lol, calling a stain on a sidewalk “blight”

      • Tim says:

        Lol, exactly Sid! If THAT’S an eyesore, then this person must be new to NYC! And to make an issue of this, talk about 1st world problems!

    4. gail says:

      I was told that someone moved the chicks down a bit to the next grassy spot. Someone’s dog was bothering them where they were so they were moved, I was told.

    5. dannyboy says:

      “Don’t know whether it’s vandalism or a weird spillage accident.”

      Someone rode a motorized vehicle on the sidewalk dripping fluids.

      If we continue to use our sidewalks for vehicles, spills will be the least of the outcomes.

    6. Ed says:

      I saw an egg. Later I saw a chick. And lately, no chick, no parents, nothing. Want to know what happened? Ask Mother Nature.

    7. T Leslie says:

      But at least we’ll always have the graffiti

    8. Christoffer says:

      The chicks are doing just fine. There is four of them and they now live on the small patch of beach east of the bridge around 63rd st

    9. md23980 says:

      Wait? What? Vandalism? Really?

      • The Doodle says:

        Yes, md29380…I’m with you on the question of vandalism. Isn’t the grafitti more a case of actual vandalism? The stains could be coolant fluid from a discarded fridge or A/C, couldn’t it JUST be an accident?

    10. Gretchen says:

      Correction: east/uptown side of West End Ave.

    11. RobRoy says:

      Give it a little time and those stains will blend right in with all the other stains.

    12. MMM says:

      Some of you really must be pressed for things to do if you’re really investigating and concerned about stains on the ground in NYC.

      • dannyboy says:

        We see how productively you spend your time by your comment.

        We are discussing things in our neighborhood.

        You? well…

    13. Paul of NYC says:

      Footprints of the missing chicks?

    14. geoff says:

      the stains i love are not actually stains, but crap. chewing gum.

      who knew so many hundreds of thousands of people chew gum and then spit it out onto the street or subway platform????

      love might be too strong a feeling, but i am amazed, for sure.

      there is a guy in paris, maybe, who paints them. thousands of them with unique designs or faces. a first world problem with a third world solution.

    15. I suggest trying Muriatic acid. It’s often used for removing stains from concrete. Available at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

    16. UWS Hawk says:

      in regards to the stain pics-


    17. Lei-Zee says:

      Lol at all the doormen assuring you they have tried everything and it just won’t go away!

    18. NYYgirl says:

      There’s a nasty-looking raised (as in 3D) stain on the sidewalk on the SE corner of 106th & Amsterdam which arrived during the construction of the current restaurant there, a while now, which has lasted through all kinds of weather. Nobody cared enough to clean it up at the time so it will most likely outlast many of us. First world problems, yes, but a pain nonetheless. Even preschoolers are taught to clean up their work areas or ask for help! Grrr but true, it all could be worse.

    19. NYYgirl says:

      PS for geoff (above), the thought of the guy in Paris made me laugh, thanks! Not sure how to beautify this one, though.

    20. Independent says:

      “Disappearing chicks” sounds like something the late Jean Shepherd would talk about.